Lack of time is the number one reason many people choose not to exercise. It can be difficult to find time to drive to the gym, find a parking spot, get changed, perform an hour workout while waiting in line for the more popular machines, shower, and get dressed. If you are desperate to fit in a workout but just can’t seem to find the time, exercise tubing may be the answer to your prayers. Elastic tubing is one of the most inexpensive and surprisingly effective muscle conditioning options.
You can purchase a tube at most department stores or sporting good retailers for around $20 and it’s light-weight, travel-friendly and very effective for training the core, upper and lower body anytime, anywhere. In 20-30 minutes you can complete your entire workout from start to finish right from the privacy of your own home or hotel room. Purchase a few different resistance levels (light, moderate and heavy) that way it’s like having a full set of hand weights.
Once you have your exercise tube, you can wrap it around a pole, staircase or fence outdoors, under a chair or stand on it and perform various exercises including chest presses, back rows, shoulder presses, bicep curls, tricep extensions, torso rotations and more. If you do not have a stable staircase/pole in your house that you can wrap the tubes around, you should also purchase a door strap (it’ll cost you just a few dollars) that will allow you to perform all these exercises using only a door and your tube (this is a great tool for those of you who travel and want to keep up your workouts while on the road and staying in hotels).
Here’s the Top 10 guidelines to remember before performing a tubing workout:
- Always control the tubing, especially during the return phase of any movement. Never let the tubing snap back into its original position. Instead slowly return to the starting position of any movement and always keep a bit of tension on the tube – this will keep tension on your muscles and provide better results.
- Train with the appropriate resistance. It’s very easy to modify your intensity when using tubing. For example, if you are performing a standing row with the tube attached around a staircase and you need to make the exercise more intense, you can just step a bit back from the staircase which will offer you more resistance. If you want to make the exercise easier, step closer to the staircase to reduce the resistance. If stepping on the tube and you want to make the exercise more challenging, make your stance wider; if you want to make the exercise easier, use a narrow stance. You can of course also use different colors of tubes to intensify any exercise. One of the beauties of working out with exercise tubing is how easy it is to modify movements.
- Always inspect the tubing before each use for nicks and tears that may arise from continue use. Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight and salt or chlorine treated water. Better yet, use tubing that has protective coating which makes it less likely to break or snap.
- Never stretch the exercise tubing beyond 3 times its normal resting length. It’s all fun and games until your tube snaps!!
- When using a door strap, be sure it is secured prior to performing each exercise.
- It is a common error to bend the wrist when using tubing so always make sure that your wrists are in neutral position.
- Set your posture before any exercise. This means abdominals contracted, chest up and out and shoulders back.
- If you can’t perform 8 reps, the resistance is too challenging. If you can perform 20 reps with perfect form, it’s time to increase the resistance. For example, you may use a more challenging tube, a wider stance, or step further from the doorway.
- Consider booking in with a local Personal Trainer for 1-2 sessions to help you design a custom program so you know exactly what you’re doing. Then just seem them once every 1-2 months for program updates to make sure you are progressing. Give us a call at 360.574.7292 if you want a little assistance.
- Consider leaving your tube wrapped around a pole or staircase in your home and performing a couple exercises for a few minutes throughout the day whenever you can. It will add up quickly and you’ll start to notice your muscle endurance and strength improving!
Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson. She can be reached at www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com
Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started. Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.